By Marc Lawrence — In this season of all seasons, having a backup plan is vital. NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal takes a look at what are sure to be key backup quarterbacks for the upcoming 2020 pandemic-stricken NFL season. Rankings are based on skillset, importance of falloff from the starting signal caller, and expected fill-in performance on the playing field. Four of the top-ranked backup QBs were starters last season, while three others in the Top-10 are rookies. Topping this year’s group is former Tampa Bay starter Jameis Winston, now backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans, of whom Rosenthal said, “For all the mistakes Winston made last season, quarterbacks don’t stumble into 121 touchdowns and a 7.7 YPA average (13th all-time!) in 70 starts by age 26. Winston may be the opposite of Teddy Bridgewater in most respects, but they should share an ability to beat out Taysom Hill, he of six career completions, in a quarterback competition.” To read the takes and rankings of the remaining 31 backups click here.
New Washington head coach Ron Rivera broke the news about his cancer diagnosis to his team on Friday. He asked his team to step up as he prepares for struggles in days ahead. “I’m not being rosy about this,” he said. “I’m being honest. I know I’m going to struggle so on days I do, I ask the coaches to step up and the players to step up and take ownership. I understand the significance of what I’m going through and I understand how tough it’s going to be. Those days I can be on the field, I will be on the field. If I’m there we’ll be business as usual. If not, Plan B. I don’t expect that to happen. I hope it doesn’t happen. I hope I can make every practice. The prognosis is good so I’m fairly confident. I can’t wait to get started and get it over with.” Rivera said Jack Del Rio, who has 12 years head coaching experience with Jacksonville and Oakland, would take over whenever needed. Del Rio was an interim coach in Denver seven years ago when coach John Fox missed four weeks with a heart issue.
Grinding Out The Profits
From the 2020 PLAYBOOK FOOTBALL PREVIEW GUIDE magazine: Remember this: the Cincinnati Bengals were one of three teams to improve its stats on both sides of the ball yet slip SUATS last season. The last time the Bengals won two or fewer games they bounced back to go 8-8 SU and 9-6-1 ATS the following season. Should half of the eight close-call losses last year reverse themselves, the Bengals could be in the AFC North chase this season.